King High Students Hear Veterans’ Experiences

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Dayna Straehley, published in the Press-Enterprise on March 21, 2014.)

U.S. veterans participate at King High Remembers. High school juniors interviewed 298 veterans and learned history from them Friday March 21. The crowd overflowed from the school gym into the multipurpose room and some classrooms.

U.S. Army Korean War veteran Charles Geitner, 85, an Illinois native now living in Fullerton, shares his experiences with Riverside King High School juniors Darrel Artiaga and Nicole Item. The school's 11th graders interviewed 298 veterans during King High Remembers on Friday March 21.  Photo Credit: Milka Soko

U.S. Army Korean War veteran Charles Geitner, 85, an Illinois native now living in Fullerton, shares his experiences with Riverside King High School juniors Darrel Artiaga and Nicole Item. The school’s 11th graders interviewed 298 veterans during King High Remembers on Friday March 21. Photo Credit: Milka Soko

The veterans were interviewed across tables in the school gym, multipurpose room and in classrooms by groups of two or three 11th graders, who asked about their war experiences, military life, homecoming, their opinion of their time in the service and current conflicts.

_D3C7454

When Sgt. Bert Frank got home from World War II after three years in the Army, he took off his uniform and threw it on the floor.  He didn’t put it back on until Friday, March 21, when he wore it to King High School in Riverside.  Frank, a 90-year-old Los Angeles resident, was among 298 veterans interviewed by high school juniors in the 14th annual King High Remembers. One of those students was his grandson Joel Frank.

Like many veterans, Frank, brought a scrapbook that included some mementos of happy experiences. He was in the Army from 1942 to 1945.

_D3C7246

Frank told students about the dances they had almost every week while he was stationed in the Philippines and USO shows with Bob Hope, King Kaiser and others. The Army showed movies, but almost all of them were interrupted by bombers that sent soldiers running for their fox holes.

The King High Remembers event that took place on Friday that allowed students to interview veterans represented the seizing our destiny pillars intelligent growth, and unified city.  By interviewing the veterans directly in small groups like this gave the high school students a very valuable opportunity to learn about not only our country’s history, but also the heritage and background of local heroes.  Speaking to veterans from different branches of military from numerous wars, the knowledge instilled from the veterans certainly exemplified intelligent growth, by equipping the students with information and knowledge that can’t be taught in textbooks.

The experiences shared and interaction between two different generations was a great example of Riverside being a unified city.  The students were able to have intimate conversations with a melting pot of veterans.  Veterans from numerous military branches in attendance ranged in war involvement, age, ethnicity, and background.  The diversity of attendees enabled the students to hear a broad perspective of experiences, and to understand the commonality among all of the veterans.   They were given the opportunity to respect and value the cultural heritage, distinct needs and varied input of each of the veterans, while proactively engaging with them across generational gaps.

_D3C7185

WAR TALLY

Some veterans served in two or more wars or did not list a war. Not all of the 361 who were expected showed up. Others arrived without advance notice, making for a total of 298, social studies teachers said.

WWII: 59

KOREAN WAR: 57

VIETNAM WAR: 149

COLD WAR: 48

GULF WAR: 21

IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN WARS: 17

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

Wells Fargo UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program Awards $486,000 to Strengthen Neighborhoods

(This article contains excerpts from a Wells Fargo News Release dated March 7, 2014)

On March 7, 2014 Wells Fargo, announced its award for $458,600 to Habitat for Humanity Riverside (HFHR) and the Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS) as part of the UrbanLIFT Community Grant Program with each organization receiving $229,300. Wells Fargo Grant

With the grant funds received, HFHR and NPHS will support neighborhood revitalization efforts that will include: NHFR’s Neighborhood Revitalizations Initiative helping to engage the community, creating holistic improvements and neighborhood cohesiveness, and further filling its mutual goal of creating safe, decent affordable housing.

NPHS will use grant dollars awarded to install solar panels on homes in Riverside County and to remove several dilapidated properties paving way for the construction of seven new affordable homes. These revitalization efforts fall under NPHS’ Sustainable Communities Catalyst Project, a multi-pronged redevelopment strategy which guides and prioritizes resources to targeted neighborhood clusters throughout the Inland Valley.

The UrbanLIFT community grant program is funded by Wells Fargo and operated by NeighborWorks America. The program is designed to provide support to local nonprofits for neighborhood revitalization projects in 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with diverse populations that are impacted by foreclosures. Since its launch in February 2012, LIFT initiatives which is the parent for programs such as UrbanLIFT including the NeighborhoodLIFT and CityLIFT have helped create more than 5,000 homeowners with the support of down payment assistance and homebuyer education in collaboration with NeighborWorks America, members of the national nonprofit’s network and local city officials.

This is an example of a unified city and of people being brought together around common interests and concerns. Riverside is a caring community that has compassion for all its inhabitants, and engages with one another for a better life for all. To read the full news release by Wells Fargo click here, or visit their blog at blog.wellsfargo.com for more information.

Riverside Alum Pilots Bobsled At Winter Olympics

(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article written by Ross French, and published today on UC RiversideThursday, February 6, 2014.)

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

During his time at UC Riverside, Cory Butner was what Student Recreation Center Associate Director Mike Eason describes as a “gym rat.” Whether it was working as a SRC staff member in the weight room, playing basketball, or working out himself, when Butner wasn’t in the classroom pursuing his degree in statistics, he could likely be found within the walls of the Student Recreation Center.Now just eight years after earning his degree and six years after taking up the sport of bobsledding, the 32-year old, 6-2, 210-pound Yucaipa native is representing the United States as a pilot of a two-man bobsled at the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The two-man competition is scheduled for Feb. 16 and 17 at the Sanki Sliding Center.

“Being a part of this team is the best thing to happen to me,” Butner said. “I’m really excited to be representing the USA on the big stage.”

Butner is currently ranked fifth in the world and is in the midst of a strong 2013-14 World Cup campaign that has seen him record bronze medal finishes at Lake Placid on Dec. 14, 2013, and Winterberg, Germany, on Jan. 3. He also has three fourth-place finishes, including the most recent event on Jan. 25 at Schönau am Königsee, Germany. In 2012-13, he won silver medals at the Park City World Cup and Lake Placid World Cup. He finished ninth overall in the competition at the Sochi track and finished the season ranked eighth in the world.

“Most people don’t know about 95 percent of the stuff that goes into racing. You only get to see 5 percent of what we do on TV once every four years,” he said. “Four years for four minutes of racing to prove to the world who is the best.”

A basketball and track athlete at Colton High School, Butner didn’t play intercollegiate sports at UCR, but fed his desire for competition in the weight room and through intramural sports. He credits his sister, Charity — who played volleyball at UCR and graduated in 2000 — with giving him the idea to pursue the bobsled following his graduation in 2005. It’s great to hear stories like this of former UCR alumni. He is truly a champion and reflects the community’s creative side with a desire for lifelong learning.

For the full article, click here.

TEDx Comes To La Sierra University: “Ideas Worth Spreading”

(This article includes excerpts from the TEDx La Sierra website)

On April 24, 2014 La Sierra University will kick off the first TEDx event in the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business building, offering participants to accept the challenge…to imagine, to design, to prove the possible.

possible orange

Photo Credit: http://www.tedxlasierrauniversity.com/

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The theme of the upcoming event at La Sierra University celebrates the visionaries, the designers, the champions of “The Possible.”

The featured speakers are those which have challenged the perceived limits of their own potential, inspiring viewers to join them in imagining, creating, and demonstrating just what is possible in our world today.  The TEDx presentation is sure to spark inspiration, and serve as a catalyst for innovation.

If you are interested in speaking and sharing your story, please feel free to visit www.tedxlasierrauniversity.com and apply.  You can also find a link to tickets and registration here.

The schedule for the event on April 24 will be arranged into four segments:

  • Imagine the Possible - Talks which inspire and invite you to see the world differently and explore new ideas.
  • Design the Possible - Talks which engage you in the process of design and innovation, making ideas tangible.
  • Share the Possible - Lunch Break. Use this time to share and discuss ideas with the speakers and other attendees.
  • Prove the Possible - Talks which present the struggle and success of turning ideas into impact, demonstrating the outcome of a quest to prove the possible.

Click here for more information about TEDx at La Sierra

 

 

Prayer Breakfast, Speeches and Walk Honor King’s Legacy

(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article by Alicia Robinson, Gail Wesson and Erin Waldner, Staff Writers for the Press Enterprise, on January 20, 2014.)

Riverside shined as a Unified City on January 20, 2014  when the community came out for a variety of events honoring the late Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was a great demonstration of Seizing Our Destiny with a community that comes together around common interests.

Students from a dozen clubs at Riverside’s Martin Luther King High School were among the hundreds that took part Monday, Jan. 20, in a 5K walk commemorating the work of the slain civil rights leader.

“It’s part of our legacy and our tradition (at King High) to represent what he stands for,” Associated Student Body President David Reynolds, 18, said.

Odessa Bragg, center, and daughter Geneva Williams sing the Black National Anthem during The Inland Empire Concerned African-American Churches' 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 20, at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. (Photo Credit: KURT MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Odessa Bragg, center, and daughter Geneva Williams sing the Black National Anthem during The Inland Empire Concerned African-American Churches’ 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 20, at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. (Photo Credit: KURT MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Beginning at Bordwell Park, an estimated 800 walkers proceeded down Martin Luther King Boulevard, wound their way through downtown, and past the King statue on the Main Street mall before finishing at Riverside City College’s digital library.Elsewhere in the Inland area, the life and work of King were honored in other ways. Some attended a prayer breakfast held by the Inland Empire Concerned African-American Churches in San Bernardino. Others stopped by Mt. San Jacinto College, where speakers recalled the 1963 March on Washington and women in the civil rights movement.

WALKING IN RIVERSIDE

At the Riverside event, several students said King’s message that all people should be treated equally still resonates.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Walk-A-Thon begins at the Stratton Community Center in Riverside on Monday, Jan. 20. (Photo Credit: KURT MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

The Martin Luther King Jr. Walk-A-Thon begins at the Stratton Community Center in Riverside on Monday, Jan. 20. (Photo Credit: KURT MILLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Amanda Gomez, 17, whose parents were born in Mexico, said people who hold outdated stereotypes of Hispanics sometimes question what she’s doing in honors classes.

“I feel like the world is changing,” she said. “It shouldn’t be, ‘Oh, you’re Hispanic – you probably won’t even graduate high school.’”

Neil Shah, 17, said that after coming to the U.S. from Cambodia as a child, he was teased and bullied because of his skin color and for not speaking English.

Because of that experience, he said, “I know better than to be making fun of other people.”

One lesson from King’s work that stuck with Nigel Item, 17, was the need for grassroots activism and the realization that it can change society.

“People need to understand that they have power,” Item said. “By joining together, by protesting, it actually works.”

For the full article, please click here.

Harada House Fundraising Close to Goal

(Excerpts from this post came from an article written by Alicia Robinson  and published on PE.com on January 20, 2014.)

Riverside officials are raising money to turn the Harada House, shown here, into a museum and buy the house next door to use as an interpretive center.

Harada-House-300x200

After several months of drumming up donations and with a deadline about a week away, Riverside Metropolitan Museum Director Sarah Mundy said she has almost enough money to buy the home next door to the historic Harada House.

The museum is preparing to close escrow on the Robinson house. It would serve as an interpretive center with information and artifacts from the Harada family, who won a lawsuit that challenged the right of Japanese-born Jukichi Harada to buy property in the names of his American-born children.

The Harada House, as the subject of a civil rights test case that helped establish Asian immigrants’ right to own property, is already a national historic landmark. Museum officials wanted property nearby to add parking and allow more space for displays and information, so the Robinson house was a natural fit.

Museum Director Sarah Mundy said the city needs $155,000 to buy the Robinson house, with a Jan. 31 deadline to close escrow. As of Friday, Jan. 17, she said, she was a little less than $19,000 short of the goal, though some people have pledged money but not yet written checks.

A handful of donors, including the Old Riverside Foundation and the Japanese American Citizens League, gave more than the $10,000 minimum to become founding members, Mundy said, and other contributions have run the gamut in size, with some as small as $5.

Up to and even after the escrow deadline, people can still give to support the Harada House mission. Mundy anticipates it will cost millions to fix storm damage and structural problems with the Harada House and renovate it as a museum, and to make similar changes to the Robinson house.

“There has been an overwhelming show of support. The checks keep coming in. I feel very confident that we will get there,” Mundy said, but added, “Just because we close escrow, it isn’t the end of the story. It’s really just the beginning.” There’s no doubt Riversiders will come together as a true Unified City in supporting this great project.

Donations to buy the Robinson house or renovate the Harada House should be made payable to the City of Riverside, Harada House Trust, account number 0000721225468. They can be mailed to the Riverside Metropolitan Museum, 3580 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside CA 92501.

For a direct link to the article, click here.

Food And Toy Drive Helps Fill The Needs of Local Residents

 (This article includes excerpts from the article written by Dayna Straehley, Staff Writer, and published in the Press Enterprise on December 23, 2013.)

Christmas is a bit brighter for hundreds of Inland families thanks to the efforts of neighborhood schools and students’ generosity.

“It means they’re going to have a present under the tree, something to look forward to on Christmas,” said Delia Cruz as she watched her 5-year-old daughter pick a toy at Lincoln High School in Riverside and then choose a book for her 9-year-old daughter.

Anahi Isidro, 12, left, and sister Ashley Isidro 11, enjoy their new stuffed animals at Lincoln High School on Saturday, Dec. 21. Lincoln adopts 60 families for the holidays. (Photo Credit: KURT MILLER/PRESS ENTERPRISE STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Anahi Isidro, 12, left, and sister Ashley Isidro 11, enjoy their new stuffed animals at Lincoln High School on Saturday, Dec. 21. Lincoln adopts 60 families for the holidays. (Photo Credit: KURT MILLER/PRESS ENTERPRISE STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Were it not for the alternative high school’s holiday food and toy drive, Cruz said her two daughters probably would not get presents at all this Christmas.

Lincoln adopted 60 families, mostly in the Eastside neighborhood, because students and staff see the need every day, said campus manager Eddie Chagolla, who organized the drive.

Most Inland schools have some kind of holiday food, toy or penny drive. Lincoln’s stands out for the size of its drive compared to its small enrollment. The alternative high school has 240 students, Chagolla said.  Madison Elementary School in Riverside had a coin drive and raised $800 for gift cards for 10 families.

”It’s really amazing because there are many more than 10 families in need at our school,” which third-grade teacher Tina Sawa said has high poverty rates.

Coming together like this is not looked at as an option for community members like Chagolla and Sawa. As a Unified City, Riversiders are aware of local needs and make all out efforts to fulfill them.

Chagolla said he purchased $120 worth of groceries for each family at cost from his friend’s store La Playita in Perris.  His family has lived in the Eastside for five generations.  “I’ve seen the poverty in this neighborhood,” he said.  So he organizes the holiday food drive, now in its 14th year, and calls on friends and other contacts throughout the city, including car clubs and disc jockeys at KUCR radio station.

For the full article, click here.

Poly High Teen Is Published Author

(Excerpts from this post were taken from a biography on Smashwords.com.)

Zoe Rose Harness is one busy teen; she is Public Relations Vice President of Poly High School’s Associated Student Body, she runs track, and has done hundreds of hours of community service through faith-based organizations and National Charity League.

Teen Wisdom

Oh, and she writes a bit. Teen Wisdom and Other Oxymorons is Zoe’s third book, but it is the first to be widely published. One, A History of Abigail Adams, she wrote as a 5th grade project, and a second, Santa Can’t Swim, was co-written with another student for an AP Environmental Science class just last year. Both of those were children’s books, but now Zoe is moving on to the Young Adult genre.

Zoe Rose Harness (Photo credit - Smashwords.com)

Zoe Rose Harness (Photo credit – Smashwords.com)

All proceeds from the sale of the book go to support Operation Safehouse - a worthy Riverside charity that serves kids in crisis.

Zoe lives with her mom and dad, 15-year-old brother Brody, and two border terriers, Hunter and Radar, in her hometown of Riverside, California. She is a committed Christian who has spent considerable time studying major world religions and cults. Her room is a wreck, she texts thousands of times each month, and she is a truly terrible test taker. In April of 2013 she visited her 49th and 50th of all 50 states.

Riverside cultivates arts and culture and is a great environment for a young writer like Zoe.  To put it oxymoronically, she is a uniquely typical teen.

Buy Zoe’s book here.

Find Zoe’s biography here.

Give Big Riverside Campaign Launched October 1st

Give Big Riverside kicked-off this year’s campaign with a launch party in the Grier Pavilion at City Hall on October 1st.  The 24-hour, community-wide online giving campaign is set for 11.12.13, or November 12, 2013 and aims to raise $300,000 for over 150 nonprofits in just one day!

The campaign is led by The Community Foundation and over 20 top nonprofit and civic leaders.   Give BIG Riverside supports the vision and mission of Riverside’s Seizing Our Destiny effort. The goal of the campaign is to raise much needed funds for local nonprofits, engage local residents to “give big and give back” to support their favorite nonprofit organizations, build and enhance local philanthropic habits, and increase the capacity of local nonprofits to effectively tell their story through the use of Internet technology and social media.  Give Big Riverside is changing how Riverside thinks about local nonprofits.

Please visit the website for more information and to donate.

Horizontal-Give Big